Parmesan Fries Recipe

Had absolutely they best potatoes last night!

The recipe I found for Parmesan Fries is a yummy discovery.

I mixed up the original recipe a bit by using regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.

 Ingredients. 

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

 1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt (optional. I find it is salty already without the salt but it’s up to you)

grated Parmesan cheese

potatoes

olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Cut the potatoes into wedges. You can peel them if you want or you can leave the skin on.

You can rinse them if you want to reduce starch, but be sure to pat them dry.

Place in a bowl and coat with olive oil.

Spread out the wedges on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the spices and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

Enjoy!

Taco Pizza Pocket Recipe

I wanted tacos but I didn’t want the tortilla. I wanted bready stuff. One of those weird cravings, you know. So, I made up a weird version of tacos.

Ingredients:

Chopped tomato                     ground beef

                chopped bell pepper              taco seasoning

       chopped onion                        shredded cheese

pizza dough

Cook up the ground beef until brown, throw in the onions, let them cook for a bit, then add the bell pepper.Cook just a little longer then add the tomatoes. Add taco seasoning until it tastes right. (I used a big can and kept shaking, but I’m sure a packet would be about the right amount. I didn’t really measure anything, was in a ‘seat of my pants’ mood.)

Grease a cookie sheet, spread out the pizza dough. (I used the Pillsbury pizza dough in a tube.) Spread out the above mixture in the center of the dough.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold it over and press the seams closed. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s browned. 

Sprinkle with cheese again and put it back in until it’s melted. 

And wallah! Taco Pizza Pocket. Good hot and cold! 

I was thinking that next time I might try and add some refried beans under the meat mixture to make it a little more like a burrito. We’ll see.

Pull Apart Bread Baking Fail

Pull Apart Bread or as some call it Monkey Bread or as we call it in my family Coffee Cake.

It is basically flavored bread that comes apart in chunks. There are a million versions of pull apart bread. Some are savory and some are sweet. In my family it is always sweet. As a child I never understood why we called it Coffee Cake because there was no coffee in it, but now I understand that it is because you have it with your coffee.

The recipe is simple.

Frozen bread dough, thawed.

Melted butter

Cinnamon and Sugar

Cut dough into small pieces. Dip in melted butter. Roll in cinnamon and sugar. Layer pieces in pan, let rise. Cook at 325 degrees.

Seems like an easy thing to make, and it is. Unless you’re me.

I thought it would be nice to make it and have it ready for breakfast in the morning, but I didn’t take into account that I was tired and my day had gone badly already. (By the way this combination always curses any attempt at baking.) I had already thawed out the bread dough and was committed to making it regardless of the imminent doom I knew was coming.

I started it after dinner. I cut the dough into chunks and melted the butter. Normally we use a fluted pan but I have had success with just using small 8 x 8 pans. So I used the small pans. I was zipping through the pile of dough filling the pans easily. No problems so far. I had divided the dough between two pans. Once they were full, I set them aside and covered them so they could rise.

In the meantime, I started my son on his nighttime routine. While he was in the bath I checked the pans and they looked ready for baking. I slid them in the oven and went back to check on my son. I had it all timed so that the bread would be done before he was ready for bed. Or so I thought.

For some reason the bread dough went through a growth spurt while in the oven, but only the outside edges. The middle stayed where it was but the outside overflowed and started dropping like doughy rain onto the bottom of the oven. Smoke started to fill the house as the sugar coating caught fire.

I turned on the extractor fan above the stove and opened the oven. Using a silicon ended tongs I removed the charred chunks of bread. They were like black rocks. I could have used them as sling shot ammo. I checked the bread and the outside was done. Nice hollow sound when I tapped on it. I thought they were done. Hahahaha, no.

The inside was completely doughy. This had never happened before. I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t very well tear it apart and cook the inside as the outside. I took a cookie sheet and flipped the pans upside down on the trays. I figured it they were going to cook weird then I might as well go all out. Another 20 minutes and another round of smoke from the bits of butter and sugar that had already fallen filled the house. I opened the window too this time although that is not the greatest idea during winter in Montana. However, the bread was finally not raw on the inside.

It wasn’t pretty but it was edible. It actually tasted amazing. So even though I totally failed, I succeeded because it’s not the looks its the taste that’s important.

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

This year my daughter decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner. We usually don’t have turkey for Thanksgiving in our house because it’s a lot of hoopla and there is always way too many left overs. So we leave the turkey for Christmas and make something else for Thanksgiving. This year my daughter decided to cook steak.

After a lot of debate about what kind of steak to use she settled on a nice New York Strip. She marinated them in a bunch of herbs all day.img_8685 She paired it all up with some sauteed mushrooms with a little garlic salt, and some sauteed asparagus with lemon pepper. Baked potatoes and some breaded shrimp finished out the menu. img_8686

I’m very proud of her for making such a great meal. I’m sad that my husband had to miss it because he was working in the hinter lands of the great north. I am comforted that I haven’t completely failed as a mother and at least she won’t starve when she’s off on her own in the next couple of years.

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Yes, You Can Eat Popcorn with Chopsticks.

how-to-use-chopsticks_16001198_800801371_0_0_14061203_600Chopsticks. They are a challenge to a lot of kids and some adults. Getting all of your fingers organized to move two little sticks in a way that you can pick up food of various sizes and shapes is hard. Especially for people with motor skill difficulties like my son.

Part of his Autism is lack of fine and gross motor skill control. His fingers don’t want to do what he tells them too. We work on it daily but sometimes even holding a pencil is challenging. I never thought that chopsticks would enter into his dinner routines. But…

When he saw an episode of  the cartoon Special Agent Oso and the main character was helping with Chinese New Year and had to learn to use chopsticks, suddenly my son HAD TO HAVE CHOPSTICKS!

That night we were having pork chops. He wanted to use chopstick so bad that he refused to use his fork and then refused to eat at all until I got him chopsticks. I was willing but also prepared for trouble if it didn’t work. I was completely shocked to see him concentrating so hard until he managed to pick up a piece of meat with the chopsticks. He has since tried using chopsticks on everything including his cereal but he hasn’t has as much success as that first time.  He hasn’t given up but he is getting frustrated.

Then we saw something wonderful on an episode of Castle. Weird I know….

Chopstick cheaters!
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They are hinges that help you hold the chopsticks and work them properly. Who knew this was a thing? Yeah I know everybody but me, right?

So we ordered them off of Amazon and when they finally arrived we wanted to practice. Of course there isn’t anything in the house that was readily available. I found some yogurt covered raisins but that wasn’t a great choice. Dad to the rescue! He made popcorn…IMG_7421IMG_7420They sat down with a bowl each of popcorn and started practicing.

It took a few tries and some work but my son finally got the hang of the hinges.

He managed to eat almost two bowls full of popcorn using his chopsticks.

I think I’ll be making Chinese food tonight. So he can really show what he’s got!

Garam Masala Lamb Pockets

This recipe was something that I cooked up (pardon the pun) on the fly the other night.

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My friend, Lisa, had given me some grass fed lamb from her ranch,  The Land of Grass. I didn’t know what to do with it at first. I’d never cooked lamb before. When I mentioned it to my daughter she requested Indian food. And although my daughter loves the spicy curries and things, my son and I have a hard time eating spicy food.  So I compromised a bit.

I had a tin of Garam Masala from The Silk Road. It is a combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, black cumin, ginger, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, and bay leaf. I know it sounds a bit spicy but it really wasn’t. It smelled amazing when I opened the tin but I didn’t follow the recipe on the back.

I improvised!

I fried up the ground lamb with some garlic and chopped spring onions until they were nice and browned. Meanwhile I cooked up some Basmalti rice. I added the Garam Masala then tasted the mixture. It was kind of bland. So I started adding things. I threw in some ginger and then some tumeric. Every thing turned yellow (as it always does with tumeric). That was a good sign, right?

Still needed something.

My daughter said it needed salt and more garlic. So I threw in some garlic salt. Then she said we needed raisins. She loves raisins in her Indian dishes. I also threw in some slivered almonds just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was tasting pretty yummy by now.

I mixed in the rice and stirred it all up. Then took some crescent rolls and laid them out in squares. (Two triangles pressed together along the seem will give a rectangular dough shape) I spooned the rice and lamb mixture into the center and folded the dough closed creating a “pocket” then pressed the seams closed. Baked them at 350 degrees until they were  golden brown.

My daughter was happy because we got to have Indian. My son was happy because it was not spicy and it was in a bread pocket that was easy to eat without having to wrangle rice on a fork. I was happy because everyone else was happy!

I saved the left-overs  for another day but my daughter ate it the next day with a spoon. Ah well, at least she liked it.

SO here is the finally ingredient list. Sorry there aren’t measurements.

ground lamb                           basmalti riceIMG_6782

spring onions                         Garam Masala

minced garlic                         garlic salt

 olive oil                                   raisins

ground tumeric                     crescent rolls

ground ginger                        slivered almonds

bake at 350

 

Enjoy!

Stuffed Red Peppers

Normally I don’t really like stuffed peppers. They always taste kinda soggy or something. The inside is mushy and the outside is rubbery. Unfortunately I had two red bell peppers and I needed to use them somehow. There was a fruit and vegetable grocery sale $15 for all you can fit in a paper sack and because our family is having financial difficulties due to job loss -you take what you can get.

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This recipe is for Mexican Stuffed Peppers that I found.

  • 1 lb ground beef  (It called for ground beef but I didn’t have any so I used breakfast sausage which was all I had that was close.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions (I used spring onions, because that was all I had.)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • packet of taco seasoning
  • 4 bell peppers (I only had two)
  • 1 egg
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the meat, egg, onions, rice, and taco seasoning in a bowl and set aside. Slice the pepper in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Spoon the filling mixture into the pepper half. You can pile it up. Then lay in an ungreased glass baking dish pour a little water around them in the bottom of the dish. (Apparently this is because you don’t precook the peppers.) Spoon a little salsa on top of each pepper and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked and the pepper is crisp tender.

When you’re ready to serve you can throw some cheese on top and some sour cream if you want. I didn’t put sour cream on the one in the picture.

SOOOO YUMMMYYY!

So because I only had two peppers instead of the 4 the recipe calls for I had some left over meat mixture.

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So I saved it and we had it in burritos the next day. Two meals out of one!

Thrifty and Yummy!

Mexican lasagna vegetarian alternative

Ok so you all know about my menu issues right? In an effort to accommodate my vegetarian I have had to adapt a lot of recipes. Well, one of my very favorite dishes Mexican Lasagna had to be integrated into the vegetarian diet. You have to understand this is an awesome simple meal that my daughter’s friends all ask for the recipe. I LOVE THIS THING!

Okay, so I had to make it in two versions. The regular and the vegetarian. I will explain both.

First I use cheap ingredients, what can I say we are on a budget. So ground beef and cans of pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn. Some spring onions,taco seasoning with water, tortillas, cream cheese, and some shredded cheese.20140719-141734-51454343.jpg

Chop up your spring onions. Then brown the ground beef. Drain the beans and tomatoes.

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In another pan saute the spring onions just for a bit, until they are smelling good then dump the tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans and some corn. Cook it over medium heat for a bit until it’s bubbling. Keep stirring it. When the beef is browned, add taco seasoning to it ( about a 1/4 cup of loose seasoning or one package mix) and water enough to make it mix in well. You can following the directions on the package for regular taco meat.

Then add about a 1/4 cup of taco seasoning to the bean mixture and stir it in. This shouldn’t need any water. Let all this cook for a bit while you prepare the tortillas.

Spread the cream cheese on the tortilla like frosting, cover the whole surface. Then roll it up jelly roll style. Just start at one end and roll with the cream cheese in the middle. You’ll want enough tortilla rolls to make one layer across the pan.

Once you are done with this. Mix some of the bean mixture into the taco meat. Then pour some of the mixture into the bottom of a pan. As you can see I did one pan with vegetarian(Left) and one with meat(Right).

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Then layer the shredded cheese over the top. Once there is a good covering of cheese layer the tortillas across the pan.

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Then another layer of meat or veggie mix. Try to spread if evenly across the tortillas.

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Then of course a final layer of cheese.

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Throw it in the oven on about 350 until the cheese melts and if you like the crunchy consistency to the cheese on top then after the cheese melts then just turn the oven to broil and wait a few minutes. At this point keep an eye on it. It can burn fast under the broiler.

Leah said that she really liked the meatless version. So thought I would share. I think that next time I will make them in loaf pans. Normally I make one pan this size for 4 of us and with two pans this size and only 3 of us eating, it lasted way too long. We were eating leftover lasagna for days. Or maybe I’ll freeze the extra, who knows?

 

Vegetarian Lasagna with pesto white sauce

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I made this for my daughter, who is now a vegetarian, and my son loved it too. WEIRD!

Make your lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. While those are boiling make your filling.

Ingredients:

Lasagna noodles

Chopped asparagus

Chopped spring onions

Chopped peppers (I used the little sweet ones that are red and yellow and orange)

Chopped fresh broccoli and cauliflower

Basil

Oregano

Rosemary

Cream of Mushroom soup

Milk

Pesto

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Filling:

Saute in very little olive oil the onions, peppers and the asparagus.

add some basil, oregano, and rosemary for flavor (I didn’t measure)

When they are starting to get a little soft add the broccoli and the cauliflower. Cook just a little then add Cream of Mushroom soup. Mix in some milk to make it into a decent sauce. Then add a good tablespoon of Pesto.

Layer the noodles with the filling and layers of cheese then bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted. I turn it to broil just a the end to get the cheese crispy on top.

Enjoy!